The Art of Juan Ortiz: Star Trek – A GEEK Book Review

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To a Star Trek novice like myself, figuring out how to begin is a little daunting.

Where does one start? Fortunately, Juan Ortiz has a helpful motivator: his fantastic book of artwork based off of the original series, The Art of Juan Ortiz: Star Trek. This book is an excellent interpretation of the series, and has gotten me interested in going back to where it all began.

art The Art of Juan Ortiz: Star Trek  A GEEK Book Review

In the introduction, Ortiz describes the series like eating cookies. It’s hard to stop with just one, and that’s what’s so cool about this book: it’s easy to lose yourself in the pages. Ortiz explains some of the background in the beginning of the book. A successful artist with Cartoon Network and comics, he needed a new project, and began drawing up posters based on some of the movies and shows that he liked. Star Trek, he noted, “wasn’t about starships blasting at each other, the way we have too often now [in other Sci-Fi]. I liked the characters, I liked the positive vision of the future. I was hooked from the start.” Thus, be began drawing up a couple of posters of the episodes, and found himself having to do more, challenging himself to create one a day for a month. Soon, he was able to license the posters through CBS, and drew up posters for each of the episodes, 80 in all.

Split into the three seasons, there’s a page for each poster. Each poster is a delight in design and episode interpretation. Each is unique; Ortiz never holds himself to a single style or layout, and the variety is just as appealing as the episodes themselves. Ortiz draws on a number of references, from minimalist and surrealistic art styles of the 1960s and 1970s, to the movie posters of the same era.

The book is more than just a book to flip through for the art. The primary actors are often incorporated in most of the posters, but Ortiz also often puts down other information, such as the credits for teleplay, stories and directors. While it’s not consistent throughout the book, it is interesting to learn of the influence that literary science fiction had on the show: often, names such as Frederic Brown, Theodore Sturgeon, Norman Spinrad, and Harlan Ellison appear; major figures within the genre in their own right.

At the end of the day, this is an excellent book to keep on any geek’s coffee table; opening it up is just as immersive and excellent as a marathon of the entire series. The trip is well worth it.

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